Pinehurst No. 4: Evolution of a Classic

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, NC – The Cradle of American Golf. The St. Andrews of America. Whichever title is bestowed upon Pinehurst Resort, one thing is certain. The golf is as good as anywhere in the world.

President Tom Pashley and company recognize the Pinehurst standard is not one to be neglected. The property continues to develop, including opening of The Cradle, a 789-yard short course aimed at the casual golfer looking to play a quick round, whether it’s before, after or sans a full 18 on one of Pinehurst’s nine golf courses. Yes, Pinehurst has NINE golf courses, five of which play right off the main clubhouse.

Enhancements to Donald Ross’ No. 2 by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw restored the golf course to Ross’ original intended design. Courses No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 have also undergone significant improvements in recent years, assuring that Pinehurst is not a one-trick pony.

Perhaps Pinehurst’s most important project, which will reopen to the public in September 2018, is the recreation of the once-acclaimed No. 4 course. Gil Hanse, one of the leading golf course architects of today, was hired to lead what he calls a “reimagination” of the track.

After reopening in 1999 following a remake by Tom Fazio, No. 4 was widely regarded as one of the best courses in the United States, let alone the Carolinas. Ownership charged Hanse with bringing back No. 4’s original Sandhill aesthetic and authentic Donald Ross design elements.

Hanse, designer of the 2016 Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janerio, envisioned No. 4 as a “companion course” to its famed sibling, No. 2. The USGA recognized the seamless connection as the two courses will host the U.S. Amateur in 2019. Hanse knew it, now the golf world is taking notice.

Although No. 4 will be a natural companion to No. 2, it will not be a duplicate. In fact, Hanse believes No. 4 features the most interesting topography on the entire property.

“It is a companion in the landscape, but it is not a tribute in the features. The greens are different, the approaches are different and we wanted to take advantage of the landforms, which are much more dramatic than those on No. 2,” says Hanse.

Hanse equated re-designing No. 4 as a chance to “play in the sand” as nothing in golf compares to the Sandhills region of North Carolina and its underlying soil. They restored No. 4 back to its original landforms by recreating the hole corridors and reconnecting the elevations and natural features.

“The highest compliment we received was from Bill Coore; he was very impressed with how we managed the material onsite,” Hanse says. “And our ability to re-establish a landscape that looked like it had been there forever.”

With a shimmering lake as a centerpiece and natural ridgelines defining corridors, golfers are treated to a brazen blend of sand, native wire grasses and shimmering water. With its vast crossing bunkers and scrubby edges, No. 4 will embody the essence of the Sandhills region of the Carolinas.

Pinehurst offers a wide variety of golf packages, including the Summer Tee Package, which allows golfers to receive their third night and fourth round of golf completely free when they stay for two nights. For all golf packages, follow the link here.

Pinehurst is a very easy trip for most. It’s just over an hour from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and within a half-day’s journey from many East Coast cities. With the fun and unique additions mentioned above, now more than ever it’s a golf oasis worthy of an annual pilgrimage.

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